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Kerry Blue Terrier

The Kerry Blue Terrier was born in County Kerry, Ireland.

Similar to other terriers, the Kerry Blue was a working dog designated for hunting game, killing rats, guarding the livestock and protecting his home.

The Kerry Blue was also used to help herd both cattle and sheep.

In the early 1900s, a gentleman from Ireland, Michael Collins, tried to start an initiative to make the Kerry Blue Terrier become the National Dog of Ireland.  When his own Kerry Blue’s life was taken, Michael lost interest and the initiative never transpired.

Kerry Blues were intentionally bred to be aggressive.  In the early dog shows of Ireland, their aggressiveness was thought to be a good thing and the test was to see how many rabbits he could catch.   He did so well that he was nicknamed the “Blue Devil.”

There really is no exact knowledge of when the Kerry Blue Terrier first arrived in the United States.

The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in the early 1920s and in the late 1920s, the Kerry Blue Terrier Club of America was officially formed.

Kerry Blue Terrier Breed Characteristics

Kerry Blue Terrier Dog BreedThe Kerry Blue Terrier male and female are 17 to 19 inches tall.

The Kerry Blue females and males can range in weight from 35 to 40 pounds.

They are considered a medium-sized dog.

The Kerry Blue has a longish almost horse-like head with dark eyes and what looks like a keen expression.  He has smallish ears that are V-shaped and fall forward.

His body is somewhat square-shaped with a tail that loops upwards.

The Kerry Bluecoat is very soft, although a bit dense with waves, they don’t shed often and are considered hypoallergenic.

The Kerry Blue can be found with the following coat colors: black, blue, gray, silver and blue/black.

The coat does need a daily brush, trimming every few weeks and a good bathing every month.

To keep your Kerry Blues, well, looking like a Kerry Blue and not a poodle or Schnauzer, look for a professional groomer who knows how to trim this pup correctly.

The Kerry Blue is an agile and athletic pup who needs daily exercise.  Some Kerry Blues will take it upon themselves to run around a secure yard, while others might need some prodding.

Either way, take your Kerry Blue out on a few walks a day to help keep his muscle tone lean and keep your pup fit.  They love to walk, run and exercise which is great for both his physical and mental acuity.

The Kerry Blue has a life span of 13 to 15 years.

Kerry Blue Terrier Personality

The Kerry Blue is an independent, athletic pup with tons of energy and even better stamina.

Similar to the Terrier breed, this big pup loves to chase, dig and bark, but he’s not an incessant barker!

The Kerry Blue has a fun, upbeat, high-energy personality and attitude.  He does, however, have a propensity to fight with other dogs of his size and will chase any small cat or dog that seems like prey.

Therefore, early socialization and training is a must.  Expose your pup at an early age to new people, sights, and sounds to get him accustomed to those and become a more manageable puppy.

The Kerry Blue is trainable but needs to be consistently reminded to keep up with the proper training etiquette.

Due to his size and exercise necessities, an apartment is not the best fit of this breed and a house with a yard is ideal.

Either way, this dog needs his daily exercise to keep him happy and relaxed.

The Kerry Blue can be a good fit for a family with older children, but he can be too rambunctious for toddlers.

He is ideal for a family that only wants one dog as he loves being the center of attention.

Common Health Issues in Kerry Blue Terriers

Kerry Blues are hearty, healthy breeds, but similar to all pure-breeds, they are predisposed to certain health conditions.

Of course not all Kerry Blues will get any or all of the below conditions but awareness is always important if you adopt or purchase this breed.

Health clearances from a reputable breeder are important to get so you will know if your pup’s parents had developed any of the below conditions:


If your dog has cancer, some of the symptoms include a sore or bump that doesn’t heal, bleeding, difficulty breathing or eliminating properly.

Treatment for any form of cancer usually includes medication, surgery or different forms of chemotherapy.


Cataracts are caused by an opacity on the lens of the dog’s eyes which hinders a dog’s vision.  It can occur in either eye and tends to give the eye an overall cloudy appearance. Cataracts usually occur when a dog is older and can be removed surgically with much success.

Chronic Otitis Externa

Chronic Otitis Externa is a chronic infection of the outer ear canal.  This is typically caused by an excess of hair he ear and it can accumulate bacterial and fungal growth. Kerry Blues are more prone to this type of infection.

Treatment usually includes the cleaning of the ears as well as plucking out the hair which is growing inside the ear canal.

Dry Eye

There are two kinds of dry eye that tend to occur in Kerry Blues: Keratoconjunctivitis sicca and pigmentary keratitis.  Your pup can get one or both conditions.

Dry eye occurs when the dog’s eyes don’t produce enough tears to get the proper lubrication that it needs to stay healthy.

The usual treatment is prescribed medication that both keeps the eyes moist and helps to dissolve the pigment. Both conditions require treatment for the rest of your pup’s life.


Entropion is a condition when the dog’s eyelid rolls inward, usually the lower eyelid.  It can occur in either eye and can cause irritation to the eye or in extreme cases, vision loss.  The condition will usually occur before a dog is one year old.

Surgery can help correct the condition once the dog has reached adulthood.

Factor Xl Deficiency (also known as Plasma Thromboplastin Antecedent Deficiency):

Factor XI Deficiency is a rare genetic blood clotting abnormality that causes excess bleeding after a trauma or surgery.  It is caused when the dog is deficient in the factor XI in the blood’s natural clotting ability.


Hypothyroidism is a condition of the thyroid gland that can when left untreated can cause alopecia, obesity, lethargy, epilepsy, hyperpigmentation and other skin conditions.

The treatment usually included diet and medication that will be for the duration of your pup’s life.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that usually occurs in large or very active dogs.  The thighbone of the pup doesn’t quite fit properly in the hip joint and can cause lameness in some dogs.

Other dogs might show any pain at all, but it can eventually lead to arthritis.

Surgery is the best way to fix the condition if hip dysplasia is serious.   Alternative therapies like swimming or physical therapy can also help improve mobility.


Keratoses is typically a genetic condition in which a dog develops warts, corns or even calluses on his nose or feet.  This can be painful for your pup and is usually associated with dogs that have flat feet or thins paw pads.

Keratoses can be surgically removed or treated with corticosteroids and antibiotics depending on the severity of the condition.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation occurs when the knee joint moves or slides in and out of the knee of the pup. This can be very painful for your pup, but most dogs can live a normal happy life with this condition.  It can be an inherited condition or just a result of overuse.

In severe cases, surgery can help correct the condition.  In more mild cases, medication and physical therapy can help slow the progression of the condition.

Progressive Neuronal Abiotrophy

Progressive Neuronal Abiotrophy is a rare, inherited nerve disorder that can occur when a dog is between 2 and 6 months of age.   When the pup is one year old, he can’t stand up anymore. There is currently no treatment for this condition or any tests to determine if a breed carries it.

Skin Cysts

Kerry Blue tend to develop lumps and bumps that are either skin or sebaceous gland cysts.  They normally do not cause any serious problem, but if the cyst ruptures, it can then become infected.

Should You Purchase Pet Insurance For Your Kerry Blue Terrier?

Whether you purchase a Kerry Blue from a breeder or adopt one, pet insurance should almost be a requirement!

With all the potential health risks that might occur, pet insurance can help you pay for them and up to 90% of the total costs.

Even if you have the healthiest of Kerry Blue’s, they will usually develop at least one condition or sickness that might end up costing anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000.

And it’s at these times when you are very happy to have enrolled in pet insurance.

Make sure to look for a plan that offers not only comprehensive insurance, the best most well-rounded coverage but also hereditary conditions.

Pet insurance companies like Healthy Paws and Embrace offer both in all of their plans.

We recommend Healthy Paws as the #1 pet health insurance provider!

Fetch Rates with Healthy Paws!

If you decide to purchase pet insurance, the best time to do so is when your dog is a puppy and before any pre-existing conditions occur.  There aren’t any pet insurance providers that cover pre-existing conditions.

Your Kerry Blue will become a very important part of your family and pet insurance will give you the assurance that you always get your pup the best care he needs without being a financial burden on you.

If you want to learn more about pet insurance and the best companies that offers it, our top 10 best pet insurance companies is a great place to start!

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